OWNERS of an illegal car wash are to seek proper planning permission after being threatened with closure.

Brothers Ray and Brian Blackburn have agreed to apply for planning permission to operate the London Road Car Wash at the corner of London Road and Cricketfield Grove, Leigh.

Southend Council gave planning officers powers to shut the business down in August after neighbours complained about noise and disturbance, but have postponed any closure after the Blackburns agreed to put in an application.

Ray said: “We are going to press on with whatever is required to get the correct permission for the car wash.

“We don’t want to go round the back door and we will do whatever is required to do it legally.”

The brothers, who also operate a car showroom and garage from the site, have encased the pump for their pressure washers, which is inside a building, in a timber box and plan to line it with insulation to reduce the noise.

They have also wrapped the body for their main vacuum cleaner, which is also inside, in lining and plan to encase that in a wooden box too.

The site has planning permission to be a car showroom and garage. Cars have been washed there for 30 years and cars are still sold there, so the Blackburns believed no new planning permission was needed.

They claim to have offered to apply if necessary, but planning officers failed to reply to their offer. The car wash, which is open, is allowed to continue operating as the brothers apply.